Best Bones (Pitt Poetry Series) (Paperback)

By Sarah Rose Nordgren

University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822963172, 88pp.

Publication Date: September 4, 2014

List Price: 17.00*
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Description

Winner of the 2013 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

Best Bones
is a house. When you walk around the rooms of the house, you overhear the desires and griefs of a family, as well as the unresolved concerns of lingering ghosts. The various voices in the house struggle against the family roles and social identities that they must wear like heavy garments—mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother, servant, and master. All these voices crave unification; they want to join themselves into one whole sentient being, into “a mansion steering itself.”
 
The poems in Best Bones also explore the experience of living in a physical body, and how the natural world intersects with manmade landscapes and technologies. In it, mother has a reset button, servants blend into the furniture, and a doctor patiently oversees the pregnancy of the earth.
 
In these poems, the body is a working machine, a repository of childhood myth and archetype, and a window to the spiritual world. The poems strive to be visceral on the level of dream, or of a story that is half remembered and half fabricated.


About the Author

Sarah Rose Nordgren’s poems have appeared in Agni, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, the Harvard Review, The Literary Review, the Best New Poets anthology, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Praise For Best Bones (Pitt Poetry Series)

"A uniquely American fairy tale. In these tales, gender, war, religion, and the American South are some of the subjects that children are coming to grips with. When Ed Ochester calls Nordgren's poems 'part Alice in Wonderland,' he gets it just right—their lines remind us that sometimes the kids are in charge, the adults don't have all the answers, and the moral doesn't make sense . . . Our worst tragedies and our greatest joys are the interruptions, the realities of life and the morals of stories. Through a series of wondrous, fantastical images, Nordgren conveys unspeakable emotion. We're transported back to the first time someone stood over us with the offer of only a story, begging us to listen closely."
—Coal Hill Review


“There is a strange feeling as you turn the pages of ‘Best Bones’ by Sarah Rose Nordgren. Something is out of kilter, unorthodox may be the proper term but I do believe original best describes the poetry of Nordgren. She is a narrative poet dwelling equally in the shadows and light of life.”
—Fox Chase Review


"Best Bones is an impressive debut by a strong poet, moving lyrically and expertly from voice to voice, through decades, across continents, but always pinning down the exact language necessary to illuminate each circumstance."
—Iowa Review


“These poems, crisp and lovely in their language, are unwaveringly devoted to charting the strangeness of the female experience.”
—Devil’s Lake
 


“Sarah Rose Nordgren’s poems are part science fiction, part surrealism, part Alice in Wonderland and wholly original, playful and personal.”
—Ed Ochester


“With her love for fable and folklore, her courting of the uncanny, and her intensive use of dramatic monologue, Sarah Rose Nordgren arrives among us with a minutes-to-midnight voice: stagy, controlling, and quietly alarmed, but always intimate—an indiscreet whisper telling us of events and feelings that we must give ourselves up to totally. Its shadow life glows as keenly as the light, and its light seems almost helpless. A terrific debut by a poet to watch.”
—David Rivard